What is structural cubic space?

Structural cubic space is a term you will hear quite often when dealing with strata plans. It means:

  • cubic space occupied by a vertical structural member, not being a wall, of a building (eg column, post, pole, etc),
  • any pipes, wires, cables or ducts that are not for the exclusive enjoyment of one lot and
  • (c) any cubic space enclosed by a structure enclosing any such pipes, wires, cables or ducts.

Structural cubic space is automatically common property even though it may exist within the cubic space of a lot, unless the plan specifically states otherwise.

Examples of structural cubic space

1. Pipes and ducts that you see attached to the roof of a basement car park

As with most internal parts of a strata lot, the boundaries of the car spaces extend from the upper surface of the floor to the under side of their ceiling. The pipes and ducts that are attached to the underside of the slab above are within the cubic space of the car spaces. However even though they exist within the airspace of lot, they are common property because they serve more than one lot or common property. This only applies provided the pipes were in place at the time of registration of the plan. To add further pipes or ducts at a later date requires the creation of an easement.

2. Structural columns supporting a balcony overhanging a courtyard

The strata plan will typically not show these columns. They may exist within the courtyard of the lot to which the balcony belongs or may be within the boundaries of another lot. Either way the columns are structural cubic space as they are supporting the structure of the balcony which is common property. Note: a wall whether structural or not can not be structural cubic space. For a wall to form common property it must be shown or referred to on the plan as common property.

3. Down pipes and the drainage pipes they are attached to

Even though they may be within the boundaries of a strata lot the down pipes and attached drainage pipes are structural cubic space as they service the roof and gutters which are common property. Again this only applies provided the pipes were in place at the time of registration of the plan. To add further pipes at a later date requires the creation of an easement.

Note  The rights of the Owners Corporation gain access to structural cubic space within a lot are provided under Section 65 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996.